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June 28

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June 28


Healing on the Sabbath


It seems one more of the numerous incidents in the New Testament where Jesus heals on the Sabbath, and is criticized for it.  The hypocrisy of the statement, "come and be healed on those days," shows the mindset of Jesus' opponents:  they would fault even a miraculous healing.

But may I draw your attention, please, to the woman in this story?  Women in this culture were not highly regarded—it was a man's world—and we know little of her.  But what little we do know will serve to our profit.

Right place, right time

The woman was crippled.  She was also in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.  How many of us will let a headache or other minor ailment keep us away from the worship of the Lord!  It is not too much to suppose that she was a regular attendee;  but we know that on this Sabbath day, she was right where she was supposed to be.  It's an example to imitate.

She came to hear

The passage makes it clear that Jesus was not there specifically to heal anyone—he came to teach.  Which means that she came to learn.  Do we come to learn?  Or do we come to critique the sermon, be blessed by the music and go home feeling that we've had our holiness vaccine for the week?  Bringing your ears is less than worthless if you will not hear—and learn.

She did not come to ask

You will note that Jesus called her forward.  She did not present herself for healing, or beg.  Indeed, from what we can learn, she did  not intend to receive a blessing from anything other than the teaching.  But when called, she came.  So many of us, when called, start thinking of excuses.

Daughter of Abraham

There is a tenderness in that phrase, for the child of Abraham is heir to the promises of God.  As God made clear to the Jews, they were not selected for their merit, but by an act of grace.  As Jesus points out, the ox is watered on the Sabbath;  how much more then should the heir of the promises be blessed on the Sabbath?

It's true for us as well.  We in America take for granted the privilege of worship in public, unassailed by the forces of the state—so far.  It is taken so casually that many of us think that once a month is sufficient for worship—because we can go anytime.  We need to see here an example of one who came faithfully, to learn.  We need to imitate that example as well.

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